Makovskiy Konstantin

The Murder of False Dmitry 206х285 сm, oil on canvas, 1906
About work

The painting “The Murder of False Dmitry” is related to late paintings of the artist, Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky. At that time he finally developed as a painter and became recognizable in such grandiose historical canvases as “Death of Petronius” and “Appeal of Minin to inhabitants of Nizhny Novgorod”. One of the major paintings is “The Murder of False Dmitry”. The canvas finished the artist’s story about this personage of Russian history that had been begun by the artist in the painting “Agents of the False Dmitry kill the son of Boris Godunov”. Grigory Otrepev had come to the throne thanks to political intrigues; he gave himself out to be the murdered tsarevitch Dmitry, as a result he became a victim of boyar’s plots. He was murdered during the revolt in 1606. K. Makovsky has timed the canvas to the tercentenary of this event. The painting is difficult because of the composite and spatial solution. It includes not only architectural, but also landscape elements, and it’s enough interesting due to lighting. Mocking of the murdered man, Vasily Shuisky, who was a leader of a plot against the impostor, Marina Mnishek, which hides out from angry crowd, her servant, boyars and the people are painted in the canvas. The special character is a man, who is laughing on a scene, thereby symbolically personifying people’s attitude to this situation. All requisites, draperies and costumes are painted with special mastery and diligence that is a distinctive feature of this period paintings. In 1907 the picture was exposed at XV exhibition of Petersburg society of artists, and was included into a catalogue, and a year later was published in magazine “Niva”.
“The Murder of False Dmitry” is a significant canvas, which is inferior to none of artist’s historical paintings that are held in a lot of museums.

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Makovskiy Konstantin Egorovich
(1839, Moscow – 1913, Petrograd)

“I have not hidden my talent given by God in a napkin, but I also have not use it insofar as I would be able. I loved the life too much and this pretended to give myself up to art completely”, K. E. Makovsky.

Konstantin lived a long interesting life of the well- known artist. Had early defined with his life way, he successfully made a career of not only sought-after and popular portraitist, but as a fine master of grandiose “boyar” and so-called “pseudo-russian” themes. These paintings of the master were willingly bought by domestic and foreign collectors. As a result a lot of works of the artist are held in private collections of the different countries of the world. K. Makovsky is also known for the colourful scenes on a theme of Russian folktale. For example the picture “Mermaid” was bought by Emperor Alexander II for Hermitage collection. Besides this genre the artist worked at oriental scenes and painted decorative panels, which adorn grandiose palace interiors up till now.

Konstantin Makovskiy was born in Moscow in the family of the painter, E.I. Makovskiy, in 1839. He is a brother of artists Vladimir, Nikolay and Alexandra, the famous landscape painter. Also K. Makovsky had a sister Maria who is shown on this portrait; she was a singer.

The attention to K. Makovskiy from Emperor Alexander II at the beginning of his career of an artist enabled a quick popularity of the painter. His famous studio at Palace Square was very popular among aristocracy and upper bourgeoisie He painted portraits of the most known high-society person of that time.

Portraits of women bulked large in his creation and he was at his best in them. Brilliantly painted scenery, costumes, clothes furs and jewelry played an important role in the creation of characters. The liberty, colourful and uninhibited dabs, and a various texture of the painting became a unique feature of artist’s works.

Konstantin Makovskiy was forced to quit the Petersburg Academy of Arts, sided with the participants of “plot of fourteen”, who deprecated against the conservative teaching system. But soon after this he became a member of a co-operative (artel) of artists, led by I. N. Kramskoy. In 1867 he took rank of academician for the paintings “Herring-seller”, “The Poor Children” and for the portraits of K. P. Kaufmann and P. I. Rokachevskogo, and two years later he became a professor.

At the World’s Fair of 1889 in Paris he received the Large Gold Medal and the award of Legion of Honour for his painting “Death of Ivan the Terrible”.

The artist were was traveling about the Middle East, Serbia, Egypt and these journeys gave him an inspiration for his oriental paintings, which show life exotic and ethnic flavour of eastern people. These paintings are made with an ethnic exactness and filled with a brightness of exotic characters. Also the artist visited Germany, Italy, France and USA. Particularly in USA he caused a furor with his paintings, and namely with portraits. During the audience the president of USA Theodore Roosevelt agreed sitting for his first president’s portrait, which a lot of American artists tried useless to paint.

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